Ruckus gets smart with virtualised WLAN controller

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Ruckus has launched what it is calling the industry's first carrier-grade virtualised wireless LAN (WLAN) controller, which is aimed at helping operators to create cloud-based WLAN products.

The Virtual SmartCell Gateway, which goes on sale next month, runs as a virtual app on either the kernel-based virtual machine or VMware Vsphere virtualised environment. Ruckus said the product was its first that will be built using European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) NFV architecture standards.

The product can also provide value added solutions such as location based services and analytics, provide data plane flexibility and features such as Hotspot 2.0 and multi-tenant support.

Control plane traffic is run within the controller's virtual appliance layer, with data plane traffic able to be forwarded through central or distributed paths. Ruckus said this means some traffic can be forwarded directly from the access point to the internet, with other data sent to an operator, partner or enterprise network for additional handling.

Sathya Atreyam, research manager, Wireless Network Infrastructure at IDC said: “Mobile network operators are increasingly exploring and evaluating architectures based on the principles of cloud computing and network function virtualization.

"Carrier class wireless LAN and the associated managed services model is experiencing a transformational shift from being viewed as vertically integrated hardware and software bundled architectures to solutions that offer the flexibility of a cloud based, scalable and flexible multi-tenant deployment model.”

The product was deployed in Myanmar by ICT provider Frontiir for the Southeast Asian games. The controller was used as part of a smart wi-fi network, which served 5,000 SEA Games delegates and athletes, and more than 100,000 spectators.

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